Those of us who were fortunate enough to live through the challenging and inspiring times of the 1960s & 1970s often ask ourselves, where are the young today? Who will take our place as the gains we made are being eroded?
We have appealed to the young to pick up the banner, make the battle their own and carry us to a brighter future. Yet as we gather to speak of the future of this country, we often look around us at the generation represented in the room and ask ourselves, where are the young today?
This past weekend, I met a young woman, mother of three, who speaks to the struggle where it is today. She is Linda Sarsour, racial justice and civil rights activist, a Palestinian Muslim American born and raised in Brooklyn.
Linda was the keynote speaker at the Michigan Coalition for Human Rights Annual Dinner, held at Marygrove College on Sunday. She is Executive Director of the Arab American Association of New York and Senior Strategist for a recently launched national campaign, Take on Hate. Linda is distinguished in many areas including receiving the “Champion of Change” award by the White House, and the New York City Council’s Shirley Chisholm Women of Distinction Award.
Linda spoke of young people, unity of purpose and continuity with those who have blazed the path and continue to fight the battle against injustice. As a solution, she speaks of: Muslim solidarity with the Black Liberation struggle; coalitions of black, brown, Chicano, Indian, and Arabs against police brutality; the disproportionate number of young men of color in prison; and racial profiling. These practices affect all minority communities.
“If we are not angry,” Linda told the audience, “we need to question our commitment to justice.” “And by justice, I don’t mean ‘just us’. There is a solution to the ills of this country. This is a struggle for all of us together. No one is safe when one group is singled out.”
Those of our generation, are ready to pass the baton.
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